On winning the war, but failed

Kuban scouts in the Caucasian Army in the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878

Cossacks — members Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878

Balkan conflict

More than 130 years ago otshumeli fight Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878, which appeared as a result of recovery of the liberation movement in the Balkans and the aggravation of international conflicts in the Middle East. Our homeland has supported the liberation movement of the peoples of the Balkans, has also sought to bring back their own prestige and influence, undermined by the Crimean War of 1853-1856.

By the beginning of the war Our homeland has deployed two armies, the Danube (185 thousand people, 810 guns), commanded by the majestic Duke Nicholas and Caucasian (75 thousand people, 276 guns), commanded by the majestic Prince Misha Nikolaevich.

As part of both armies acted mounted Cossack regiments of the Kuban Cossack Army (RAC) and the battalions of the Kuban scouts, who, as in previous years, brought a worthy contribution to the victory of the Russian guns. Sabotage and reconnaissance party scouts bravely and skillfully acted in both theaters of war. But if the feats of arms of the Cossacks in the Balkans understand almost everything that a combat operation scouts in the Caucasus, in the views of the creator, as long as it is said enough.

Mobilization of the Caucasian Army preceded preliminary period (September 1 — November 11, 1876) and in fact the period of mobilization (11 November 1876 — 12 April 1877). Immediately to the mobilization of the infantry, artillery and cavalry units of the Russian army on the orders of the Minister of War Mobilization subject to subsequent parts of the Kuban Cossack Army: 10 cavalry regiments, a squadron of His Own Pravitelskogo Majesty's convoy and 20 plastun hundred. In November, hundreds of plastun 5 battalions formed four hundred strong (3, 4, 5, 6 and 7 battalions), regiments were given the name of the latter.

The formation of Cossack units complicated by the fact that at the beginning the mobilization of firearms to arm the Cossacks was not enough. How unfortunate it did not sound lacking in preparedness for war army was typical for the Russian-Japanese, and the First World War. As of September 1876 there were 6454 RAC Berdan rifle, missing in 2086. In late October, from St. Petersburg to Ekaterinodar trucks arrived with 10,387 rifles, which allowed only arm the shelves of the first set, the second set of the Cossacks came to the assembly point with his rifle Tanner. Some bellies battalions were armed with guns Carleo system. In the following steps to mobilize foot bellies battalions were armed with guns Dragoon system Krnka. In general, Cossack units were armed with firearms of different systems that gave rise to difficulties in securing ammunition.

Soon the aggravation of the political situation, the military production of the Turks and mood Highlanders claimed the first of the additional fund in April 1877, including the third stage of appeal RAC. Additionally there were 5 teams formed Cossack regiments of cavalry and infantry battalions RAC 5 (8, 9, 10, 11 and 12). Total RAC put up 21,600 Cossacks, who took part in the defense of the fortress of Bajazet, the capture of Kars and Erzurum, in battles at the Shipka Pass and on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus.


On the Caucasus-Asia Minor Theatre after war was declared April 12, 1877 troops operate Corps and his troops under the command of the Adjutant General of Misha Tarielovich Loris-Melikov (future Minister of the Interior) run across the border and went deep in the opponent's area consisting of several columns. Configuration information about successful operations in this period scouts 2nd Battalion walking bellies and 2-hundred Poltava Cavalry Regiment RAC, which has been entrusted to take the Turkish border posts and to ensure the smooth passage of the main forces detachment of Colonel Komarov near the village of Vale. Troopers and mounted Cossack hundreds of heavily involved in the composition of volatile and reconnaissance teams to collect data about the fortifications of the enemy force garrisons disposition areas, damage the telegraph lines. The information was collected as a method of personal observation and questioning local residents, taking prisoners.

So, for example, the hunting team of 11 scouts and Poltava Cossacks Cavalry Regiment in May 1877, was tasked to conduct reconnaissance Gelyaverdy heights (in Ardahan), to find ways for the main forces and produce language. Spray the attention of the Turks immediately implemented distracting acts plastun other groups. Hunter's team running the centurion Kamensky safely behind three enemy chain of fortifications and conducted reconnaissance "caught the hour with a gun, and is delivered to the camp as a confirmation of their own deeds." In July, the exploration of the Turkish forces in Dagor squad of 20 Cossack scouts and 20 Chechens from the Chechen irregular cavalry regiment under the command of the General Staff Colonel Malama NIGHT MODE crossed the river Arpachay, conducted a successful exploration of the area and returned safely to their locality.

Intensively used troopers in the coastal areas, where the act of the Cossack cavalry regiments have been hampered by mountainous and forested terrain. So, for example, in the summary of hostilities Sochi squad from 28 July to 28 August 1877 refers to a successful intelligence operation hundreds of scouts under the command of the cornet Nikitin: "… the party in Sandripshe scouts had found the enemy pickets and bliz Gagr saw significant movement of masses of people , with the passage guarded with 2 Turkish battleships. Detachment commander reported that the enemy has taken all measures to discourage repetition of our troops to strengthen the Gagra. Scouts was given instruction to conduct reconnaissance circuitous mountain trails. " In the coming scouts was tasked to take control may be greater in Gagra district, so that the enemy does not have time to take inaccessible approaches that would later take him to bolshennymi victims. Then, together with three arrows and hundreds of scouts participated in the successful storming of Gagra enhanced.

The scouts, scouts from time to time extracted information that allowed bring to light some unscrupulous officers. For example, Lieutenant General Gaiman 31 May 1877 reported to the command of the following facts to refute the officer's report of the incident at the Cossack picket line, "From the scouts received information that on our picket Ardosta 300 Bashi-Bazouks not attacked, but only 30-40 people , the post was a complete mistake: half of the Cossacks were sleeping, and others — were eating sour milk, that's why I do not have time to collect the horses, which took all the enemies. This information was given scouts, and they all make up the difference with a report the officer. We believe it would produce a result and give the officer the court, on the other, by carelessness of our Cossacks, such cases may happen again. "

The command of Russian troops skillfully used the outstanding fighting properties and scouts in pursuit of the retreating enemy. For example, skilled maneuvers of our forces troops retreating Turkish troops are displayed on the scouts in an ambush and came under their precision weapons fire. Effective actions scouts gave the command prompt Russian troops battalions of the idea of forming teams of hunters, in which, together with Plast, who formed their base, cut one more quick-wit
ted and physically prepared by volunteers from the infantry regiments of the Russian army.

Kuban scouts in the bellies of the 7th Battalion, under the command of Captain Bashtannik, the hero of the defense of Sevastopol, were involved in the Army of the Danube. From coastal Sistovskih heights that battalion with extraordinary courage and boldness captured from the enemy, ensuring that the crossing of the Russian army over the Danube, under the control of General Gurko Kuban scouts started their own glorious path to the famous Shipka Pass. For feats, manifested in the fields of labor in Bulgaria, many scouts were awarded the George Cross, many of the lower ranks assigned to the non-commissioned officer and officer ranks.

Notable memoir about the actions of scouts during the Russian-Turkish war of 1877-1878 left a recognized journalist and writer Vladimir Giljarovsky. During that war he volunteered to serve in the army and thanks to the restless and adventurous disposition was in the middle of the Kuban hunter-scouts, who operated on the Black Sea coast of the Caucasus.

Lose the peace

Either way, war was won. But other developments compel to think about issues such as to justify the sacrifices borne by Russia and who povinet results in missed victories of the Russian guns.

The successes of in the war with Turkey alarmed the ruling circles of Great Britain and Austria-Hungary. The British government sent a squadron of the Sea of Marmara, which forced Russia to abandon the capture of Istanbul. In February, thanks to the efforts of Russian diplomacy was signed lucrative for Russia San Stefano contract which, seemingly changed the whole political picture Balkans (and not only) in favor of the interests of Russia.

Serbia, Romania and Montenegro, formerly a vassal towards Turkey, received independence, Bulgaria almost regained the status of an independent principality, Turkey agreed to pay an indemnity of the Russian Federation in 1410 million rubles, and on account of that amount lost in the Caucasus Kapc, Ardahan, and Batum Bajazet and even Southern Bessarabia, was cut off from Russia after the Crimean War. The Russian weapon triumphed. Russian diplomacy is used as the victorious outcome of the war?

Scouts have continued to skirmish with bashi-bazouks when a revision of the results of War 3 June 1878 launched the Berlin Congress, where predominated the "big five": Germany, our homeland, Britain, France and Austria-Hungary. His final act was signed on 1 (13) in July 1878. The head of the Russian delegation formally listed as 80-year-old Prince Gorchakov, but he was old and sick. Almost ran delegation last chief of police, Count Shuvalov, which, Judging by the results, was a diplomat, much worse than the policeman.

During the congress it became clear that Germany, concerned about the excessive strengthening of, not lust to support it. France, still reeling from the defeat of 1871, gravitated to the Russian Federation, but feared Germany and did not dare to intensively support the Russian demands. This situation has been skillfully used by Britain and Austria-Hungary, which forced the Congress-known solutions that have changed the San Stefano contract to the detriment of the peoples of Russia and the Balkans.

Thus, the territory of the Principality of Bulgaria was limited to only the northern half and southern Bulgaria became an autonomous province of the Ottoman Empire under the name of Eastern Rumelia. Serbia gave Bulgaria a part of that forever embroil the two Slavic people. Our homeland regained Turkey Bajazet, and as indemnity exacted not 1410 million, but only 300 million rubles. In the end, Austria-Hungary managed to say to yourself "right" to the occupation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

As a result, Russian-Turkish war was for Russia while the won, but failed. Chancellor Gorchakov in a note to the king on the outcome of the Congress admitted: "The Congress of Berlin is the darkest page in the service of my career." Emperor Alexander II attributed: "And mine too."

Soon after the Russian-Turkish war of the Head Chief of the Russian General Staff Nikolai Obruchev wrote in the memo, the emperor: "If our homeland is poor and weak, if it is far behind Europe, it first as very often it is incorrect to solve the most fundamental political questions: where to and where not to follow her to sacrifice their domain. If you walk the same method, you can just die and rapidly complete the cycle of its own majestic Powers … "

Even with the configurations in the geopolitical environment that have occurred over the last more than 100 years, the words of General Obrucheva not lost its relevance in our days are.

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